Organics In The News: The Apples & Oranges Study

Can a study of studies be called a study? And should we take the latest findings on the benefits of organic food from Stanford as serious news? I say no. They did nothing more than compile some notes based on the published results of studies conducted by others over the past decade. That isn’t a study, it’s a book report.

Said book report, after being funded by entities unknown, made global headlines just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, real in depth studies conducted in 2008 show that yes, organic food is higher in nutritional value than traditionally grown food is. Guess Stanford missed that chapter by the Organic Center while doing their homework.

Some of these headlines make one wonder. A Kansas City Star reporter thought the first tweet about it was a spoof, and who wouldn’t with story titles like these?

  • Organic Foods Not Healthier or More Nutritious, Study Says – US News
  • Organic Food No Better For Vitamins and Nutrients – Guardian, London
  • Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce – NY Times
  • Organic food no healthier than non-organic – Reuters
  • Organic Food Isn’t More Nutritious, but That Isn’t the Point – The Atlantic

That last story headline is the most intelligent one of all. It’s not really about whether organic foods have more nutritious value in terms of vitamins and other beneficial elements. It’s about chemical, pesticide and antibiotic free eating, which in turn is definitely better for your health and the environment.

Organic Foods Still Healthier For YouHere’s one more reason why you might want to get more seriously involved in growing food at home, whether its in outdoor or indoor gardens:

For a food item to be stamped “organic,” 95 percent of the product must be made with certified organic agricultural ingredients, says the USDA. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients are prohibited from using the word “organic” on labels.  ~  Bill Briggs, Life Inc Today

Briggs’ article also reports that a 2010 Neilson survey revealed that 51% of consumers responding perceived organic food as being more nutritious, but a 76% saw it as the healthier choice, while 53% preferred it for being pesticide free. Perhaps, it would be wiser to see organic food purchased from your local grocer as being greatly reduced in the amount of chemicals, pesticides or antibiotic content. Here’s one more quote from the article on Life Inc Today…

Stanford researchers found that not all organic fruits, veggies and meats are entirely free of pesticides or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, although the levels of such chemicals are far lower and their presence is far more rare when compared to conventionally farmed produce, chicken and pork. (Federal rules prohibit organic farms from using synthetic pesticides, but experts explain that some bug-killing vapors are known to drift from non-organic farm fields onto organic plots).

Do you have room for a cow and some chickens too? The best way to know what’s in your food is to know where its been from start to packaging. An accomplishment best managed if your produce it yourself.

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Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine

Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.